Review: Bose QuietComfort 20i Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones

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Since I travel for a living I almost always travel with at least one pair of headphones. My favorites were the Bose QuietComfort 15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones. I’ve used Bose over-the-ear noise cancelling headphones for years now. The only problem I have sometimes is having so much stuff in my backpack that I  don’t have room for them. I noticed that Bose came out with an an in-ear model, the Bose QuietComfort 20i. However, I just dismissed them as “probably not being as good as what I already had.” My buddy Jack Beckman swore by them. I still wasn’t convinced. However, in packing for my current trip I thought, boy it sure would be nice having something that does the same thing, yet fits in my pocket. So I bit the bullet and ordered a pair. Since I was going to be flying for 4.5 hours I’d be able to really put them to the test. Worse case, I’d be able to return them.

First Impressions

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They arrived and I took them out of their packaging. I was impressed by the size and relative light weight of them. I hadn’t researched these at all so I was a little surprised to see that they used an internal rechargeable battery. This is a plus and a minus. The plus is that you don’t have to buy batteries. The minus is that if the battery dies or you forget to recharge them there goes your noise cancelling. I was pleasantly surprised that unlike the QC 15,  the QC 20i will still allow you to hear your source audio/music even in the OFF mode. That always bugged me about the QC 15. If the battery goes dead and you don’t have another one they become a paperweight. So the fact that these will at least still function has headphones without power made me feel much better about the battery not being user-replaceable. You charge the battery with a standard Micro USB connection. They provide the cable, but not an actual charger. I understand that most people have no less than a hundred chargers lying around from all the cellphones, iPads, and other devices that charge via USB, but for the asking price a charger should be included nonetheless. Perhaps even a dual charger so that you can charge your headphones and the device that you’re going to plug them into, as a nice touch. Speaking of battery, the internal battery takes about 2 hours to charge and last about 16 hours per charge. It does include three different sized sets of gels to fit your ears properly. I’ve only tried the medium ones that seem to fit well in my ears without falling out. I’ll probably try the large ones to compare. It also comes with a carrying case.

The Controls

There is a control box attached to the cable near the audio plug end. This box contains the battery and is where you plug in the charger. It also has the on/off switch . All the way on the other end of the cable before they split into a Y you have a clothes clip and the remote. The remote lets you control the volume, mute, and temporarily allows you to turn the noise cancelling off. If you have an iPhone, iPad, or iPod you’ll be happy to know that this remote works just like the remote on your Apple Earphones/Earpods. There is also an integrated mic so that you can use it on phone calls. Yes I even tested the volume button to control the shutter of the iPhone camera and it works. My only complaint with the noise cancelling button is that it doesn’t also mute the audio. Whenever the flight attendant would speak to me I found that I had to press both buttons to hear him. There should be ONE button that does both. The whole point of putting that button there is to turn off the noise cancelling so that you can hear what’s going on around you. What good is it if the music is still blaring?

 

The Sound

The ultimate test of these is both the sound quality and effectiveness of the noise cancelling. I was quite surprised at how well they sounded and how well they blocked the noise around me. While I’m certainly no audiophile, I would definitely say that these are definitely on par with my QC 15s. I don’t miss them at all. These are more comfortable to wear for longer periods of time. Since I wear glasses, any over-the-ear or on-ear headphones begin to pinch after an hour or so, even sometimes causing a headache.

 

The Bottom Line

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I have a new favorite set of travel headphones. The Bose QuietComfort 20i Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones are every bit as good if not better than their bigger brothers. They take up a fraction of the space and weight. Anyone that has ever attempted to lift my backpack will know how much I appreciate this. These are a winner and I highly recommend them.

You can get a set here.

Have Another Look At Adobe Revel

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Adobe Revel (originally known as Carousel) got off to a shaky start. There were features missing that many saw as a show-stopper and originally the only way to use the service was to pay for it. A LOT has changed since then. First off, what is Adobe Revel? Adobe Revel is a photo sharing and storage service. Imagine having access to all of your photos no matter if you’re on your computer or your iPhone or iPad. With Adobe Revel you can upload an unlimited number of photos to the cloud. You can share them with others and have shared albums with family members and friends. Best of all (at least for me) you can use the Adobe Revel iPhone/iPad app to show your photos off.

How do I get my photos into Adobe Revel?

There are a couple of ways to do it. You can import photos using the Adobe Revel desktop App. You can import photos using the iPhone and iPad app or you can upload to Adobe Revel directly from Lightroom 4 or 5 using the Adobe Revel publish service (the method I use).

How many photos can I store on Adobe Revel?

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Unlike other services, Adobe Revel doesn’t have a photo limit. You can upload as many as you want. This is important and makes Adobe Revel better than many other services because your photo library is only going to get larger, not smaller.

Once my photos have been uploaded to Adobe Revel how do I view them?

You can view your photos in the desktop app, iPhone App, iPad App or via the web. Since you’re logging in to each app and the web with the same Adobe ID, your photos are instantly available on all your devices.

What if I’m offline, can I still view my photos on my computer or iPad?

Yes, Adobe Revel caches your photos to your device and they are available even if you’re offline.

Terry, why do you like Revel so much?

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Adobe Revel gives me the thing I’ve always wanted. An easy way to have my portfolios with me and always up to date. Once I hit the publish button in Lightroom 5 on any of my published collections, I don’t have to think about it anymore. The next time I fire up Adobe Revel on my iPhone or iPad those photos are there. Sure there are more full featured portfolio apps out there, but all of them are a pain in the butt to keep photos updated in. Also the Revel team did a great job in redesigning the iPad App. It looks very elegant now.

If I share an album with others can they add photos/videos to it?

Yes, if you share albums with others they can add photos/videos from their devices. This is great for families on vacations or event photos.

Sounds too good; this must cost a fortune right?

This is why I said it’s time to take another look at Adobe Revel. You can start off with a 30-day trial and during those 30 days you can upload as many pics as you want. After that you can keep using Adobe Revel for free and have a limit of 50 new uploads a month. However, if you want to continue to have unlimited uploads it’s only $5.99/month for Revel Premium.

OK how much are the iPhone and iPad Apps?

They’re free to download. Actually it’s a Universal App and you can get it here:

iTunes.

OK, I want to try it. Where do I sign up?

You can try out Adobe Revel here.

How To Combine Multiple Lightroom Catalogs Into One

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In this episode of Adobe Creative Cloud TV, I’ll show you how to combine multiple Lightroom catalogs into one.

Are you missing out on my Bonus Content?

See more of my Adobe Creative Cloud Videos on my Adobe Creative Cloud TV and get the App below. It features EXCLUSIVE CONTENT that no one else gets to see. This episode has a BONUS CLIP that is available only in the App! My iOS App is a Universal App for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. I also have an Android version on the Amazon App Store:

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Review: Westcott Speedlite ProGrip

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Just about any photographer will tell you that you’ll get better results from getting your speedlight up and off your camera. There are all kinds of ways to do it including full blown solutions like my “Westcott Terry White Travel Portrait Kit.” It seems that Westscott has done it again with a handheld solution that can also be mounted on a stand. The Westcott Speedlite ProGrip shows that someone was thinking about this problem and came up with a way to not just accommodate your speedlight, but also a modifier such as a softbox or umbrella and even a second shoe for your trigger. It’s also nicely angled downward to give you better results if you simply hold it straight up.  In the picture above I have the Westcott Speedlite ProGrip PocketBox Kit. I have a Nikon SB 910 Speedlight on it as well as a PocketWizard Plus X trigger. Of course the speedlight and pocketwizard are not included. I’ll be the first to tell you that while I think this is a great solution that I’m not accustomed to holding up a speedlight for my shoots. If I use a speedlight I’ll more than likely mount it on a stand or some other mount. The other thing you probably wont see me do very often is use such a small modifier because I typically like the much softer light achieved by using larger softboxes. However, I wanted to give this solution a shot since it’s so portable and even smaller and easier to travel with than my RapidBox. I was already doing a portrait shoot in studio over the weekend with my full sized regular strobes, but I decided to take a couple of shots with the ProGrip and supplied PocketBox. I handheld the ProGrip in my left hand while shooting the Nikon D4 with my right hand. Here are my results:

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f/5.6, 125th sec, 28-70mm f/2.8 lens, ISO 200 and Nikon D4

 

I took a few shots to get the power just right. I ended up at 1/8th power on the SB 910 and probably could have taken it down a bit more to control the hotspots a little better.

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f/5.6, 125th sec, 28-70mm f/2.8 lens, ISO 200 and Nikon D4

The Bottom Line

The Westcott Speedlite ProGrip has a great feel to it and solves a real problem by letting you either easily handhold a speedlight, modifier, and trigger or by letting you mount it all on a stand. It’s very lightweight and small enough to put in just about any bag. The sell these in three flavors. You can get just the Speedlite ProGrip Handle without any modifiers or you can get the Westcott Speedlite ProGrip PocketBox Kit or Westcott ProGrip Umbrella Kit.

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January 2014 Update: See What’s New in Adobe Photoshop CC, Illustrator CC and InDesign CC

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It’s 2014 and of course that means that we’re in for new feature updates for our Adobe Creative Cloud applications and services. I’m pleased to give you for first look at the first wave of new features for Adobe Photoshop CC, Adobe Illustrator CC and Adobe InDesign CC. There are over 20 new features among the three apps and now there are more than 900 Typekit Desktop Fonts for your design use. Rather than simply tell you about these features I figured it was easier to show you:

What’s New In Adobe Photoshop CC – January 2014 Update

 

What’s New In Adobe Illustrator CC – January 2014 Update

 

What’s New In Adobe InDesign CC – January 2014 Update

 

Also in case you missed it, here’s What’s New in Adobe Muse CC – November 2013 Update

Continue Reading »

How To Get Started with Adobe Muse CC – 10 Things Beginners Want To Know How To Do

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In this episode of Adobe Creative Cloud TV, I’ll show you how to get started with Adobe Muse CC and the 10 things that beginners want to know how to do. Although I have done this subject in the past I felt that enough has been added to Muse since then to do this video again.

Are you missing out on my Bonus Content?

See more of my Adobe Creative Cloud Videos on my Adobe Creative Cloud TV and get the App below. It features EXCLUSIVE CONTENT that no one else gets to see. This episode has a BONUS CLIP that is available only in the App! My iOS App is a Universal App for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. I also have an Android version on the Amazon App Store:

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NAPP and Kelby Online Training become KelbyOne

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I know that many of you are Photoshop users and chances are you were part of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP). I also know that many of you love online training and chances are you part of Kelby Online Training. If you were part of either of these two programs it just got a lot better for you as they just merged into one, actually KelbyOne. I’m thrilled about this change because it could be confusing at times as to which one to become a part of, especially if you were a graphic designer. It also means that they will focus on more than just Photoshop and photography. As a matter of fact I recorded three NEW classes for KelbyOne that should be released soon!

Scott Kelby, a good friend of mine has posted this video to tell you more about it:

Also be sure to check out his latest book, Photoshop for Lightroom Users:

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Hey! That’s my work in the Westcott Catalog – Late 2013 Edition

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As we bring the curtain down on 2013 and as I look back on this year, one of the highlights for me was simply getting better at my photography hobby. One of the things that makes me really proud is to see my work in print with major lighting manufacturers. After all these are the folks actually selling gear to photographers and they are probably going to be pickiest about how their products are represented. I’ve had a good relationship with F.J. Westcott and I was thrilled to see my work represented once again in the Westcott Catalog. Check out their Late 2013 Edition here in PDF. Not only is my work in it, but it’s one heck of a catalog covering all of their gear. See more of my photography here. Also check out my Westcott Terry White Travel Portrait Lighting Kit Here.

Year End Deals

Also check out year end deals on their gear here.

How To Get Started With Lightroom 5 – 10 Things Beginners Want To Know How To Do

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One of my most popular videos right now is my How To Get Started with Lightroom 4 video. I figured it was time to make the Lightroom 5 version and here it is. In this episode of Adobe Creative Cloud TV I’ll show you how to get started using Lightroom 5. This is for beginners, first time Lightroom users, and folks who are self-taught and may be missing things. We’ll cover the 10 things beginners ask about the most. Definitely check out the last thing which is how to move your photos from one drive to another.

Are you missing out on my Bonus Content?

See more of my Adobe Creative Cloud Videos on my Adobe Creative Cloud TV and get the App below. It features EXCLUSIVE CONTENT that no one else gets to see. This episode has a BONUS CLIP that is available only in the App! My iOS App is a Universal App for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. I also have an Android version on the Amazon App Store:

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7 New Things You Can Ask Siri in iOS 7

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This seems to be an annual thing  for me as each new iOS version lets you do more with Siri and each year there are more and more new iPhone and iPad users. Siri lets you do so much with simple voice commands and most people have no clue what you can ask Siri to do. For quick reference here’s my original 25 Fun Things to Ask Siri post and the follow up 25 New Things To Ask Siri when iOS 6 came out. Well iOS 7 is here and of course you can Ask Siri even more things now. Here are a few of my favorites – 7 New Things You Can Ask Siri:

AirPlane Mode (you tell Siri to control your settings, Bluetooth on, make the screen brighter, etc.)

siri-iOS7-airplanemode

Play iTunes Radio

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FaceTime My Sister

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Post to Facebook (or write on my wall, or Tweet)

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What’s trending on twitter?

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Read my email

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What planes are flying over me right now?

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Now for a little fun

Siri definitely has a sense of humor. Ask Siri these 5 questions and see what she comes back with:

Can you make me a sandwich?

Beam me up

What’s the answer to the universe?

Is Santa Claus real?

Who’s on first?



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